I hope it’s not too late for a comeback.

It’s been about seven months since I posted, but I want to get back on the horse. During the time I was away, I got a new job. Looking for a new job and getting acclimated to a new job takes up a lot of time. There is still a chance to meet my writing goals for 2022, but it will require that I post almost daily. The last seven months have given me a lot of content. I feel like a different person. I have experienced a lot of personal and professional success; to do it, I had to overcome significant obstacles.

I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned with the community.

About those 2022 writing goals…

I have three blogging goals for 2022:

1. To finish the year with 100 posts and 50 followers 

2. To write for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week, and

3. To feel confident about the quality of my posts.

The first quarter of 2022 has passed, so it’s time to check in on my progress.

Goal 1

I am up to 65 posts which means I’ve shared 15 new ones. At this rate, I will exceed my goal of 100 posts. And now I have 30 followers, which means I’ve added 14. I will exceed my goal of 50 followers at this rate.

Goal 2

I have written for at least 30 minutes a day, but it has not been for the blog. When I created this goal, I didn’t consider how much I had to write for work, and most of what I write for work I wouldn’t share on the blog. I’ve also done a lot of writing to get clarity on other personal and professional goals. Still, I wouldn’t share all of that on the blog either. 

Sometimes setting a leading indicator for goals (e.g., number of calories eaten, number of visits to the farmers market) is better than lagging indicators (e.g., weight, waist size). I first learned about this distinction in “4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals”. I tried to apply that principle to blogging, but it didn’t work as I expected. I need a more concrete goal, which could be something like “post once a week.” Posting once a week would help me reach my goal of 100 posts this year.

Goal 3

This goal is both ambiguous and subjective. How do I determine my quality? I’m a pretty harsh critic, and I might never be as good as I want to be. In writing, quantity can help to improve quality, so posting more frequently can help. Maybe something more concrete would be to finish a writing course. There’s a LinkedIn Learning course I started but never finished, “Writing with Flair: How to Become an Exceptional Writer,” that I can commit to completing by the end of the year. What’s great about this course is that it also provides Professional Development Units (PDUs) to maintain my PMP certification.

2022 Goals – Revised

If I were to re-write the goals at this point, they’d look like this:

  1. To post at least once every seven days, ending the year with 100 posts.
  2. To gain roughly two followers each week, ending the year with 50 followers.
  3. To finish a course on writing.

Other Challenges

Another challenge is knowing what to write about. I have a lot of thoughts throughout the week, and perhaps I could try to find a thread between all of those thoughts and write about the connection. 

I also considered using a weekly blog post as a “sprint review.” In agile project management, the work for the project is divided into sprints, usually 2 – 3 weeks. You start a sprint with a planning meeting where you decide what you will design or produce. Then you end the sprint with a sprint review meeting where you share your progress and explain what worked and what didn’t. If I thought about it some, I could find a way to apply this concept to blogging. 

Yet, another option is to share what I’ve learned in the previous seven days. Initially, that feels a bit corny, but one of my weaknesses is that I don’t take time to celebrate small (or big) wins. Once I solve a problem, I’m on to the next thing. It puts me in a state of mild-to-moderate, continual dissatisfaction with my life. I never feel like I reach the top of the mountain; it’s a constant climb. I need more moments where I can stop and appreciate the view.

After more thought, setting one topic to stick to for the next 36 weeks feels restrictive. I want to have some flexibility. And if I don’t like the topic, I don’t want to have to stick with it for the rest of the year.

Another project management principle that’s applicable here is the idea of iterations. Rather than work towards one final goal, you break up the final goal into smaller goals that are immediately useful. For example, rather than design a fantastic app in nine months, create a basic app in one month and use the following eight months for improvements and enhancements. This way, you don’t have to wait until the nine months are up to take advantage of the app’s benefits.

Closing Thoughts

The most important thing is that I sit down to write, which still terrifies me sometimes. I am still afraid of being judged and critiqued, honestly. Sometimes that fear stops me from writing altogether. But today, I committed to writing, and I started writing without a clear idea of what would come out, and then all of this came out! If I wrote a little bit each day, the final blog post would be more manageable than trying to get it all out in one session (like I’m doing today).

It doesn’t feel honest to say that I’m writing for myself when I post it on a public blog. It also feels disingenuous to say that I don’t care about what other people make of my writing. I’m not writing wholly for myself or entirely for anyone else. My meta-goal is to do something and allow myself to be bad at it or not expect it to be perfect. That’s the goal that I need to keep top of mind whenever I sit down to write. The ultimate writing goal for 2022 is to allow myself to be bad at something. Any improvement gets me closer to adequate but still far from perfection. 

Failure is all about framing.

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to write for 30 minutes, five times a week, and post 50 posts by the end of the year, averaging one post every 7-8 days. I started sharing my posts on LinkedIn, but I got nervous because people in my network would see my writing. It’s one thing to have a complete stranger on the internet read your work. But it’s something different entirely to have someone you know well review your work. It made me feel vulnerable, and I was afraid of judgment.

When I did my 30-day blogging challenge, I allowed myself to have average posts. The original intent was that quantity was more important than quality. The more posts I have, the more I practice, and the more I can improve. I’ve gotten away from that, and I’ve since been scared to post.

To correct course, I can give myself permission for this to be something I don’t have to excel at. Perhaps, my most considerable success in blogging is to allow myself to be a “failure.” It takes away a lot of the angst and helps me enjoy writing.

Blogging Goals for 2022

I have three blogging goals for 2022:

  1. To finish the year with 100 posts and 50 followers (currently at 56 and 16)
  2. To write for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week, and
  3. To feel confident about the quality of my posts.

I used a lot of mental horsepower to obsess over details like how long my posts should be and how frequently I should post. How do I make better titles? Better endings? Should I be more personal or keep it professional? And what will attract the most readers?

These, and others, were great questions – but none of them are essential when I think about the blog’s purpose. I remembered that I started the blog to help crystallize learnings and share insights from media – mostly print media – that I’ve consumed. This hobby allows me to be curious; therefore, the focus is on discovery, not predictability. Instead of focusing on engagement, I can find my writing voice.

To that end, these goals are broad enough for me to have room to explore but specific enough to help me improve my craft. My list of blogging prompts is virtually impossible to deplete. And my list of book chapters to review is even longer. So I’ll get a lot of practice and hopefully come out of 2022 a better writer than I started.

Reflections on my 30-in-30 Challenge

Tomorrow ends my 30-in-30 challenge. I just scanned my posts, and – boy, were they all over the place! Doesn’t matter, though, as my focus was on production. I wanted to create a writing habit, and I didn’t want fear or perfectionism to stop me. I’ve had about a 1% improvement in writing. I recently signed up for some courses that will help me improve my page and writing abilities. If I had to summarize the biggest lesson I’ve learned in this process, it would be the power of setting achievable goals. For this stage of my life, I need to define achievable as “easy.” That doesn’t mean that I didn’t push myself or that I didn’t care about the results. But I did it in a fun way. This is a hobby, after all. Thank you all for reading, but I’d mostly like to thank myself for FINISHING (tomorrow).

Reflecting On My Sunday Scaries

I’m nearing the end of my 30-in-30 blog challenge, and I thought it would be good to close the gap between the final posts on my last blog and the rebirth of my current one. Here’s the fourth and final post from my former blog. It was first published Sunday, July 18, 2021.

It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re starting to realize you didn’t get much done this weekend. You’d planned to be productive and you were regularly refining the list of the tasks/errands you wanted to tackle. But, as you reflect, it feels like your to-do list is growing faster than you can manage. For every one thing that you check off, it feels like three more get added. This is the OPPOSITE of progress, you think, and just the thought of adding more to your list stresses you TF out. 

I don’t quite feel this way re: tasks. However, I do feel like I have a lot of ideas I want to develop and that I won’t have time to do them. 

Week after week, stuff just piles up. You get stuck in this place of perpetually feeling like an overwhelmed under-performer. You’re ready to give up, but that’s not really an option. If you give up, the work just piles up even faster. Between the ever-growing list and your tendency to procrastinate (because sometimes you don’t even know where to start), you just feel exhausted. 

I feel differently now, I think, because I’m intentionally trying to do less. 

You, too? Bruh, this is me every week. And I decided to put my theory to the test and find a way to use project management principles to help me manage my life. I’m still testing out the solution, but so far, it’s been helpful. In the next series of posts, I’ll explain how I’m using agile project management to help me manage my stress, increase my focus, and ultimately get more done. 

I like the idea of using project management principles on appropriate life tasks, but that doesn’t solve the problem. The challenge is learning how to do less. 

This is not a “recipe for success”, but rather my attempts at designing a solution that works for me. I hope it gives you some ideas on tools you can tailor for your own usage. Until then, good luck with your to-do lists. Don’t be too hard on yourself and realize that you can’t – and won’t – get everything done…and that’s okay. 

I still agree with this. 🙂